Basic Legal Terms

The A to Z guide on Legal Terminology:

Basic Legal Terminology (A):

  • Accused: person who charged with committing crime.
  • Administrative Law: rules and regulations framed by administration
  • Affidavit: statement on oath for use as evidence in legal process
  • Alibi: elsewhere a legal plea that the a person was not presented at the time and place of occurrence
  • All Rights Reserved: intimation notifying that the owner is legally protected his rights against infringement.
  • Amnesty: general pardon granted by a nation
  • Anticipatory bail: bail granted by a court in advance even before to a person who apprehends that he might be arrested
  • Arbitration: settlement of a dispute by someone chosen to hear both sides and come to a decision.

Related: mcqs on Indian Constitution

Common Legal Terms (B):

  • Bail: something given as security effect the release of one arrested or imprisoned, on the understanding that he shall appear for trail at a fixed time and place
  • Bonafide: in the good faith

Legal phrases (C):

  • Certiorari: a writ to transfer a law suit from a lower court to a higher one
  • Circumstantial evidence: evidence based on the circumstances of a case and sufficiently strong to establish the guilt
  • Contempt of Court: disobedience of the judgement / orders of the court
  • Convict: one who is founded guilty of a crime and sentenced by a court
  • Code: classified laws and regulations
  • Coup d’etat: sudden removal or change of Government by force
  • Copyright: the exclusive right of the owner of a work on it
  • Court martial: trial of defence force personal for the breach of military discipline rules / laws
  • CPC: Civil Procedure Code
  • Cr.PC: Criminal Procedure Code
  • Curfew: order to people to stay indoors

Common Legal Words (D):

  • Defendant: a person required to answer in a court
  • Defamation: attack on reputation
  • Dejure: lawful
  • Detenue: person detailed by a state authority
  • Double jeopardy: prosecuting a person more than once for the same offence

Related: Common Questions about Intellectual Property

Glossary of Legal Terms (E):

  • Extradition: delivering a accused to another country for legal trial
  • Ex.gratia: by way of grace
  • Exhibit: presentation of legal document / facts


  • Facsimile: exact copy of a document
  • FIR: First Information Report of an offence / crime to law department
  • Forgery: counterfeiting with intention of fraud


  • Genocide: repressing / killing people of a particular community


  • Habeas Corpus: a writ refers to the right of an arrested person to be produced before the court of law for trial


  • Indemnity: security against any kind of damage / loss
  • Inquest: judicial enquiry to find out how somebody died
  • Indictment: document which have information about  charges against a prisoner

Related: MCQ on Law of Contract


  • Lease: a contact which defines / outlines terms of renting property by one party to another
  • Legacy: something (mostly money or property) left to a person by will
  • Life imprisonment: Long term imprisonment (duration can different in different country)
  • Limited Company: a company where shareholders have limited responsibility to the extent of
    their shares in it
  • Locus stand: right to interfere


  • Malafide: with bad faith
  • Modus operandi: mode of working
  • Moratorium: order to postpone payment of dues without any imposition of punishment

Related: MCQ on Sale of Goods


  • Ordinance: rule / order / law made by authorised body / government

Legal Terms (P):

  • Patent: document that gives a person exclusive privilege of something
  • Parole: release of prisoner before completion of sentence (mostly in condition of good behavior)
  • Public Notary: a lawyer / appointed person to certify / attest documents
  • Perjury: making false statement on oath
  • Prima facie: at the first sight
  • Penology: study of crimes punishments, prison and reformations of criminals
  • Postmortam: medical examination of a dead body to find cause of death
  • Power of Attorney: document authorising granter of the power in relation to matters specified in the documents
  • Probono Publico: for the public good
  • Prohibition: banning something / some activity
  • Proxy: when a person acts for another person to perform some action

Related: Multiple Choice Test: Law Of Tort

Commonly Used Legal Terms (S):

  • Sine die: without date, indefinitely
  • Sub judice: under judicial consideration
  • Sedition: use of speech / action to act against government
  • Status quo ante: the previous position
  • Summons: a writ of a court commanding the attendance of a witness at a specified time and place


  • Vox populi: voice of the people

Law Student Glossary (W):

  • Warrant: legal order issued by court / authorised person to permit a particular action which otherwise an illegal act
  • Writ: written order by court to act in a particular way

About the author


Jaspreet (Masters in Commerce-LLB) not only have exceptional command of Accounts and Commerce subjects but also have keen interest in Law. He is consistent in producing high quality assignments.

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